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Cork, Ireland

  • City population: 
    289,739
  • City/Urban area: 
    833
  • Population Density: 
    Between 300 and 500 inhabitants per km²
  • GDP – city: 
    More than $25,000
  • GDP - country: 
    USD 39,290
  • Average number of years of schooling: 
    13.7

A firm commitment to create learning opportunities for all

As the second largest city in Ireland, Cork wishes to boost economic growth and improve the lives of all citizens by reducing social inequalities.

Vision and motivation

By joining the GNLC, the city wants to strengthen its commitment to building a learning city and to join a global initiative consistent with its local activities. Education and lifelong learning are regarded by Cork as a key means to reduce inequalities and improve social inclusion.

Challenges and goals

Lifelong learning can lay the foundation for change. In particular, the city wants to tackle the following challenges:

  • reducing social division and early school leaving
  • extending the use of modern learning technologies
  • improving employment
  • lowering economic emigration and improving the lives of the immigrants who stayed.

Plan and implementation

To give citizens access to a broad array of learning opportunities, Cork designed many projects, including:

  • hosting a series of international seminars and a conference on taking an inclusive and holistic approach by working to integrate other sectors with the Learning City concept (EcCoWell Cork)
  • Cork Learning Festival, which celebrates learning as a joyful and collective experience and proposes almost 500 free events every year
  • Cork City Development plan, which encompasses lifelong learning and recognizes Cork as a city of learning
  • GLLiC (Growing Lifelong Learning in Cork), a cross-sectoral working group designed to implement the Declaration on Building Learning Cities in 2014
  • two Learning Neighbourhood pilot programmes in disadvantaged areas, supported as case studies to develop an ongoing approach to the learning city concept.

Cork City has long demonstrated tremendous commitment to the learning city approach in general and to the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities in particular. At the 2nd International Conference on Learning Cities in 2015 in Mexico City, Cork City received the UNESCO Learning City Award in recognition of its achievements. In 2017 Cork City hosted the third International Conference on Learning Cities.

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